Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cell Phone Saga Part 1

I´ve now been in Turkey for half a week with no cell phone. This hasn´t been a problem since I don´t know enough turkısh to talk to anyone, but Pitzer wanted me to have a cellphone on Day 1, and I can´t communicate with my Mudd/Pitzer friends, call the Ibrahim (the program coordinator) to tell him I am lost in a city I can´t pronounce, call my host parents and say late in turkish over and over again to tell them I wont be home or anything lıke that.

Yesterday, one of friends from Pitzer (Irene) was going to get a phone with the help of her host sister, and I asked if I could get a phone with her too. The whole thing struck me as very Turkish. We set off with the host sister and the rest of the Pitzer crew, stoppıng to eat first. Then the sister told us that her uncle had a cell phone store, and we should go to that one. We passed about five cell phone stores on the way (there is about one cell phone store in Kızılay for every 20 residents), but the store wasn´t far. When we got there we met the uncle and explained we wanted cheap phones. He said 'used' then 'very cheap' in Turkish and gave it to Irene for 30 lira. He then gave me one for 50 lira. One person in the group pointed to another phone and said it was less expensive. The uncle replied that it indeed was inexpensive, but it didn´t work (this made me glad I did not buy the phone alone).

Then he took us to his store´s (Avea) competitor, Turkcell to buy us SIM cards and minutes. At Turkcell, it was determined that we could not use our minutes (or maybe they were points, the two seemed pretty interchangable). The uncle told us that Avea would let us call the US, so we went back to his store to buy SIM cards there. The process was pretty complex, requiring my passport, my Mother´s first and maiden name and little else. He then told us that once we charged the phones and waited an hour (the phone was uncharged and not turning on at this point) they would turn on. Irene asked what would happen if the phone broke, to which the man replied that he would give us a two month guarantee.

Long story short, after charging my phone and getting Ibrahim (who just happened to visit my house that night) to put the phone in Englısh, I still can´t work the phone. The problem may be that Avea has terrible service, which is probably why the uncle took us to Turkcell first. Assuming it is the phone or something, I am reasonably comfortable that I have the closest thing to a service plan in Turkey: a family connection.

Oh,and one of these days, I swear I will take pictures. Also no promises about spelling when I type from an intenet cafe.

1 comment:

  1. "The whole thing struck me as very Turkish."

    I hope that this had nothing to do with the situation at hand and merely stemmed from the fact that you are, in fact, in Turkey.